Disappointment at Type 31e delays

Prospect alarmed at further delays to Type 31e project

Prospect has condemned the Ministry of Defence's decision to postpone the procurement process for the Royal Navy’s new Type 31e frigate.

Rosyth at sunset with naval vessel moored

Prospect condemned the Ministry of Defence's decision, announced late on 24 July, to postpone the procurement process for the Royal Navy’s new Type 31e frigate.

Speaking on behalf of more than 2,000 managers, supervisors and technical staff employed in military and civilian shipbuilding in the United Kingdom, more than 700 of whom are based in Scotland, Prospect national secretary for Scotland Richard Hardy said:

"The decision is a body blow to many members who are already seeing significant redundancies as the aircraft carrier programme runs down. This means they see nothing but a gloomy future ahead.

"The success of either of the two leading consortia in the 31e programme would have secured significant investment for Scottish shipyards, be this on the Clyde from the BAE bid or on the Lower Clyde and at Rosyth from the Babcock bid.

"We should not forget that other yards across the UK, employing many thousands of our members will be equally impacted by this decision.

“When the Westminster government announced its National Shipbuilding Strategy we were promised a renaissance in UK shipbuilding and a drumbeat of orders to keep the yards working.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve seen the decision to offshore the contract for the three complex auxiliary vessels to support our new aircraft carriers and now we have a postponement that means no decision for nearly a year.

"Let's be blunt – this means more redundancies, less capacity for future bids and a significant impact on the Royal Navy’s capability as we move into the 2020s. Our members no longer believe that the government values the work they do.”

Criticising the decision to release the news as Parliament was breaking for the summer recess, Hardy concluded:

“For this news to be released the day before the Westminster recess begins adds insult to injury as our members are denied any parliamentary scrutiny of the decision.

"Our ability to raise our concerns directly with ministers is also severely curtailed and it all adds up to a poor deal for our members in Scotland and across the UK.”